Tuesday, June 3, 2014

On Microclimates: what a difference a side makes! By Irene Shonle

Microclimates are much more dramatic in the mountains than in lower elevations.  The intense sun can really warm up the south side of a house, while the wind and shade on the north can keep plants in a deep freeze for much longer.

Here is what I saw when poking around my house this morning (8,700')
I noticed my catmint blooming already on the south side:

Catmint in bloom June 1 at 8700 on south side

But on the north, this is what it looked like:

Catmint nowhere close to blooming on the north side
Same for Golden Banner:
South side -- Golden banner in bloom!
North side -- Golden banner tightly in bud
This shows the dramatic effect of microclimates.  Observing the same plant in different stages around your house can inform you about the microclimate, and help you choose the best plants for certain areas (or help you figure out what to plant where for that first dose of color for the season!)

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